Conceptions of situational affect in children referred for services
Indellicti, Craig Leonard
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Children's abilities to correctly identify emotional outcomes of clear and ambiguous situational events were assessed and compared in two groups of children. Subjects included children from two age groups (8-10 and 10-12 years), half of whom were male or female, and either African-American or Hispanic. Half the subjects (N=40) consisted of children referred for services who were sent to a school counselor for various problems and half (N=40) consisted of the control group which was matched for ethnicity, age and gender. Subjects were presented with 20 short vignettes of children in various social situations. Subjects selected from five emotion choices (happy, sad, mad, scared and okay) and judged the intensity of the emotion on a three-point scale (e.g., a little happy, happy or very happy). Teachers completed the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for each subject in order to obtain an overall assessment of each child's functioning.;Results revealed that referred for services (RFS) subjects had significantly higher problem scores on the CBCL than control subjects which was further qualified by the emergence of a number of gender and ethnic differences. African-American RFS children performed more accurately in identifying basic emotions when compared to control African-American children. However, Hispanic RFS and control groups did not differ from each other. Older subjects were more accurate in linking both basic and mixed emotions to their situational events than younger subjects. Analyses of subjects' systematic errors, preferences within the mixed emotion combinations, and ratings of emotional intensity indicated that subjects' ethnicity and referred status influenced their judgments.
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